Se­nate GOP in­tent on scrap­ping health man­date in tax bill

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing -

ance man­date “to help pro­vide ad­di­tional re­lief to low- and mid­dle-in­come fam­i­lies.”

The sur­prise re­newal of the failed ef­fort to scrap the law’s man­date came a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­newed pres­sure on GOP law­mak­ers to in­clude the re­peal in their tax leg­is­la­tion. It has sharp po­lit­i­cal stakes for Trump, who lacks a ma­jor leg­isla­tive achieve­ment af­ter nearly 10 months in of­fice.

The move by Repub­li­cans on the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee up­ended the de­bate over the tax mea­sure just as it was inch­ing closer to pas­sage fol­low­ing months of fine-tun­ing and com­pro­mise. It turned the de­bate into an an­gry par­ti­san ref­er­en­dum on health care and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture law.

Repub­li­can ef­forts to dis­man­tle the law col­lapsed this past sum­mer as mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans joined with Democrats in re­ject­ing the re­peal — a bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment for Trump, who lashed out at the Se­nate GOP for fail­ing. Adding the re­peal of the man­date to the tax mea­sure would com­bine two of Trump’s leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties.

Be­yond Trump’s prod­ding, the re­peal move also was dic­tated by the Repub­li­cans’ need to find rev­enue sources for the mas­sive tax-cut bill, which calls for steep re­duc­tions in the cor­po­rate tax rate and elim­i­na­tion of pop­u­lar tax breaks.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., points to boxes of pe­ti­tions sup­port­ing the Repub­li­can tax re­form bill that is set for a vote later this week, on Capi­tol Hill in Washington Tues­day.

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